The future Hall of Fame debate for Francisco Lindor has already begun

On a Hall of Fame pace, why haven't all Mets fans embraced Francisco Lindor?
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets - Game One
Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets - Game One / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

Love it or hate it, Francisco Lindor will be the shortstop for the New York Mets for a lot longer. A player who seems to get a strong reaction from the fans no matter what he does, Lindor is a player who’ll always have the microscope above his head. Receiving the largest contract in franchise history will do that to a guy.

Lindor’s place among baseball’s immortals has been brought up on social media, beginning a premature debate about whether he’s bound for Cooperstown or not. His numbers through age 29 are better than most Hall of Fame shortstops since the Integration Era.

With such fantastic numbers, why is it that Lindor hasn’t won over all of Flushing?

Why some Mets fans might not be feeling the Hall of Fame pace for Francisco Lindor

Lindor’s numbers through age 29 will, of course, include a bunch of seasons in Cleveland where Mets fans could only watch from afar as he grew into one of the league’s top shortstops. All the while, we were wondering if Wilmer Flores or Ruben Tejada could handle the position on a full-time basis.

Since coming to New York, Lindor has been a much different hitter. Not as many balls are leaving the yard as they did during his time with Cleveland. Specifically, it was the 2017-2019 seasons when Lindor’s power numbers exploded. He hit 27 home runs in his first 1122 plate appearances in 2015 and 2016. In his 723 for Cleveland in 2017, he had 33.

Beyond the home run totals, Lindor has seen the number of doubles he hits falter. Along with hitting 30+ home runs in each season from 2017-2019, Lindor had 40+ doubles. The years were explosive for the All-Star shortstop whose total base count surpassed 300 in three consecutive seasons.

During his two good years with the Mets, 2022 and 2023, Lindor has had matching total base numbers of 283. The dip in batting average with New York plus fewer of them going for extra-bases has taken down several of his totals.

Has Lindor been a much worse hitter with the Mets? Not exactly. It’s just different.

Francisco Lindor has changed in a league that's changing, too

An OPS+ of 118 for Cleveland versus the 116 for New York are close enough. It would seem ballpark factors in addition to changes across offensive production league-wide have helped Lindor to keep up with a similar pace albeit with some devolved numbers along the way.

Lindor has set new personal highs in strikeouts in consecutive seasons while seeing his career batting average of .285 he held before joining the Mets fall to .274. Virtually every number of his from those earlier seasons has gotten worse with the exception of the ones measuring him against competition.

In parts of six seasons with Cleveland, Lindor was worth 28.1 WAR. In three with the Mets, he’s already more than halfway there at 14.6.

Discussing a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy this early on in their career never works. After all, Jim Fregosi wasn’t too far behind where Lindor was through his age 29 campaign. Then we pretty much know what happened.

Lindor has a long way to go before Cooperstown comes calling. He also has a jump start on getting there. A few monstrous statistical seasons will go a long way. Add a few Gold Gloves, maybe an MVP, and a championship ring and then there will be little doubt. But will Lindor doubters ever buy in?